The 61st PGA Merchandise Show – the Major of golf business – concluded on Friday bringing together more than 1,000 companies and brands introducing new and innovative golf equipment, apparel, accessories and services to more than 41,000 attending PGA Professionals, buyers and industry leaders from 81 countries.
The 2014 edition of the PGA Merchandise Show saw exciting product introductions in every sector of the business, a five percent increase in PGA Professional attendance, unprecedented live television coverage by the Golf Channel to provide an insiders’ look for consumers, doubled participation in educational sessions and compelling industry presentations to grow the business of golf and participation in the game.
“The PGA Merchandise Show has become a global gathering place for every component of the golf industry. For one week each January it is the epicenter of the golf universe,” said PGA of America President Ted Bishop. “In terms of business, I think the industry is in a good place right now, the best place we’ve been in for several years. The 2014 PGA Show has given us a sense of optimism and enthusiasm as we move ahead.”
The PGA Merchandise Show covered 1 million square feet of the Orange County Convention Center West Concourse including some 483,000 square feet of interactive exhibit and demonstration areas. The game’s biggest brands and hottest new companies showcased the latest technology, trends and service solutions with new product introductions from industry leaders such as Titleist, PING, Callaway Golf, TaylorMade-adidas Golf, Cobra Puma Golf, Nike, FootJoy, and Bridgestone.
PGA Professional attendance grew by five percent, while overall industry attendance dipped slightly (by 5%) to total more than 41,000 PGA Professionals, retailers and industry leaders from all 50 U.S. states and 81 countries. The top five countries (outside of U.S.) represented in attendance were Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and Korea. The top five U.S. states represented in attendance were Florida, California, New York, Georgia and Massachusetts.
“We are very pleased with the rise in PGA Professional attendance as they are important influencers to the business of our exhibiting companies,” said PGA Worldwide Golf Exhibitions Senior Vice President and General Manager Ed Several. “Beginning last year, we worked hand-in-hand with the PGA of America to engage more PGA Professional participation, often on a grassroots level attending PGA Section and Chapter events, and the results have further strengthened the PGA Merchandise Show as the world’s largest gathering of PGA Professionals. In addition to non-PGA buyer qualification being more stringent in 2014, we also experienced some travel challenges for attendees with the snow storm in the Northeast. Overall though, the PGA Merchandise Show delivered more PGA Professionals and buyers who could influence retail and move forward business and participation in the game.”
Golf Channel provided an insider’s look to the annual industry-only event with unprecedented coverage, nearly 15 hours live, from the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show. “Morning Drive,” the network’s morning news and lifestyle show, broadcast live from a dedicated set on the showroom floor, Jan. 22-24, and featured live reports from the PGA Merchandise Show Outdoor Demo Day, Jan. 21. “Golf Central,” the network’s signature news show, also provided live reports throughout the week from the PGA Merchandise Show featuring interviews and segments from across the showroom floor. David Feherty hosted two performances of Golf Channel’s “Feherty Live” in front of sold-out audiences of PGA Show attendees at Universal Studios Orlando, Jan. 21 and 22. Streaming of Golf Channel’s PGA Merchandise Show programming was available for the first time ever via Golf Live Extra. Comprehensive online editorial coverage also was available via GolfChannel.com, the network’s social media channels (#PGASHOW), live streamed via Golf Live Extra, as well as satellite radio simulcasts through SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.
Additionally, more than 1,000 media representatives from 24 countries came to the PGA Merchandise Show to cover the newest golf products, trends, industry announcements and newsmakers of the game. Daily video and blog reports are available at www.PGA.com and the daily PGA Show News, the official daily publication of the PGA Merchandise Show, is available at www.PGAmagazine.com. A new social media campaign, complemented by a new Show Floor Social Media Clubhouse, promoted content at #PGAShow on multiple social media platforms, and was widely successful resulting in the PGA Show and PGA Show Demo Day trending #1 on Twitter for multiple days.
The PGA Forum Stage was the platform for more than 20 compelling industry and manufacturer presentations led by the Opening Day’s State of the Industry Panel Discussion, presented by the PGA of America. PGA President Ted Bishop joined Donald Trump, legendary golfer Annika Sorenstam, TaylorMade-adidas Golf CEO Mark King, former USGA Executive Director David Fay and Golf Channel CEO Mike McCarley to provide a golf business forecast for 2014 while discussing topics from anchoring putters and rolling back the distance for golf balls and drivers to growing the game challenges and the return of golf to the Summer Olympics in 2016.
Participation in educational offerings at the PGA Merchandise Show doubled in 2014 as PGA Worldwide Golf Exhibitions, in partnership with the PGA of America and Association of Golf Merchandisers, introduced national-level, exclusive-content education seminars by the foremost experts in their field including the Disney Institute in customer service, Turner Sports in social media, Titleist Performance Institute in health, wellness and fitness, Tony Jacklin in golf architecture, plus the game’s top teachers in outdoor workshops and classroom settings. Additionally, industry professionals were able to customize their educational plans and maximize their time on the PGA Show floor with the first-time offering of single-session registration for education sessions. The combination of exclusive content and flexible registration allowed more industry professionals than ever before to take advantage of educational offerings during the annual industry event.
PGA Show Week Recap
PGA Show Week began with a sold-out PGA Youth and Family Golf Summit, presented by U.S. Kids Golf, on Monday, Jan. 20, at the Orange County Convention Center with more than 200 PGA Professionals and industry leaders engaged in presentations to drive value to facilities through youth and family golf programs.
The new day pattern for the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, Tuesday – Friday week-day schedule, was met with a positive response from the industry and helped attending professionals return to their facilities for a work weekend, return home for a family weekend, or enjoy an extended golf or vacation weekend in Orlando.
On Tuesday, Jan. 21, the 12th PGA Show Outdoor Demo Day, organized by PGA Magazine and PGA Worldwide Golf Exhibitions, was held at the Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge in Winter Garden, Fla. More than 7,000 PGA Professionals and invited retailers tested the latest products from 100-plus golf equipment, training aids, performance wear and golf accessory companies. Quickly-moving heavy rain and winds caused a temporary event suspension mid-afternoon. The outdoor event also featured five 60-minute Instructional Workshops presented the game’s top teachers including David Leadbetter, Mike Malaska, Dana Rader, Stan Utley and Suzy Whaley, who provided insight into becoming a world class teacher, instructor, and coach to today’s golfers.
The PGA Merchandise Show traditionally attracts international industry leaders, top CEOs, influential retailers and scores of celebrity endorsers from the realms of professional golf, golf instruction and entertainment. In 2014, Annika Sorenstam, the 2013 PGA First Lady of Golf award recipient, joined PGA of America Officials in the grand opening and was among a long list of participating celebrities including Graeme McDowell, Jesper Parnevik, Ryan Moore, Chris DiMarco, Greg Norman, Lee Trevino, Nancy Lopez, Blair O’Neal, Donald Trump, Tony Jacklin, Ken Griffey Sr., Ken Griffey Jr., David Price, Alonzo Mourning, plus top teachers such as Butch Harmon, Michael Breed, Hank Haney, Stan Utley, David Leadbetter, Mike Malaska, Suzy Whaley, Dana Rader and many more.
In addition to the busy marketplace among nearly 10 miles of aisles, PGA Show days were full of professional learning opportunities during industry presentations at the PGA Forum Stage, in the PGA Education Conference and at daily presentations on the FIT to W.I.N. (wellness- instruction- nutrition) stage, sponsored by the Titleist Performance Institute.
Attendees also enjoyed an energetic PGA Show floor featuring interactive exhibits, hundreds of vendor specials and promotions; plus some 47 equipment testing bays at the Indoor Demo Days; the FIT to W.I.N. sports performance pavilion, a centralized New Product Zone for a one-stop shopping of the newest golf merchandise; a new Fashion Row of the latest apparel trends, plus the Fashion Lounge on the PGA Show floor; numerous specialty exhibitor pavilions including the Golf Travel Pavilion, women’s accessories pavilion, PGA Partners Pavilion, New Exhibitor Discovery Zone, and several international exhibitor pavilions, plus an Inventor’s Spotlight Pavilion for patented products not yet available at retail.
PGA Merchandise Show Winners
The Annual PGA Awards Night was held Wednesday, Jan. 22, at the Chapin Theater of the convention center and drew a large crowd to honor PGA Professionals who showed outstanding achievement last year including:
- PGA Golf Professional of the Year – Michael Doctor, PGA
- PGA Teacher of the Year – Lou Guzzi, PGA
- PGA Junior Golf Leader – Nicole Weller, PGA
- Horton Smith Award – John Hughes, PGA
- Bill Strausbaugh Award – Dan Pasternak, PGA
- PGA Player Development Award – Jordan Young, PGA
Honored earlier in the week at the PGA Magazine Merchandisers of the Year Summit, Jan. 17-19, were PGA Professional Merchandisers of the Year Scott Paris (private facilities), Rick Kline (public facilities) and Josue Reyes (resort facilities).
Award-winning PGA Professionals and top golf buyers voted three new products as the top new products among new merchandise displayed in the PGA Show New Product Zone. 2014 winning products were:
- Golfboard, single-person golf transport vehicle provides the player the sensation of surfing or snowboarding, www.golfboard.com
- Groove Caddy, hand-held, powered tool customized for cleaning golf club grooves, cavity backs, www.groovecaddy.com
- Catherine Wingate Apparel, high-end lady’s golf apparel, www.catherinewingate-apparel.com
Organized in partnership with the United Inventors Association (UIA), the Inventor’s Spotlight pavilion showcased golf inventions not yet available at retail. UIA representatives voted top inventions:
- Best in Show ~ The IScore, golf cart scorecard magnifier, www.iscoremagnifier.com
- Best Innovation ~The Inter_X Golf Grip for putters by JonJas Company
- Best Marketing ~ The Snap Hookz, golf bag accessory snaps/holders, www.snaphookzgolf.com
Influential PGA Professionals and golf buyers voted two exhibitors new to the PGA Show as recipients of the Top Buyers Choice Awards. The 2014 winners were:
- Tru-Roll Putters, www.tru-rollputters.com, round-faced putters (Equipment/Products & Services Category)
- Francis Edward, www.francisedward.com, men’s and women’s belts and accessories (Apparel Category)
The 2015 U.S. PGA Merchandise Show is scheduled for Jan. 21-23 in Orlando, Fla.
For more information on the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show and upcoming PGA Worldwide Golf Exhibitions events, visit www.pgashow.com.